Steelbacks open NatWest T20 Blast defence at home to Derbyshire Falcons

Northants Steelbacks were T20 winners in 2016
Northants Steelbacks were T20 winners in 2016

Northants Steelbacks will begin the defence of their NatWest T20 Blast title with a home game against Derbyshire Falcons next July.

David Ripley’s men are once again in the North section and will play seven home matches, but there has been a change to the scheduling from previous seasons.

In the past, the T20 campaign has begun in May, with matches being stretched out between then and the finals day in August.

In 2017, the tournament will be played in a two-month block in July and August, with finals day scheduled for Edgbaston on September 2.

Friday night cricket has proved very popular at the County Ground, with big crowds packing out the venue last season, but just three of their seven home games are on Fridays next season, with two on Thursdays and two on Tuesdays.

The opener against Derbyshire is on Friday, July 7, but the County then don’t have another Friday night game until August 11 when Leicestershire Foxes come to town.

They wrap up their home group campaign the following Friday (August 18) against Durham Jets.

The Steelbacks’ other home games are against Yorkshire Vikings (Tues, Jul 11), Worcestershire Rapids (Thurs, July 27), Birmingham Bears (Tues, Aug 1) and Lancashire Lightning (Thurs, Aug 3).

On the road, Steelbacks travel to Durham on July 9, Birmingham Bears on July 14, Leicestershire on July 21, Notts Outlaws on July 22, Derbyshire on July 28, Worcestershire on August 5 and Yorkshire on August 17.